How Do Pet Microchips Work?
A microchip is a tiny electronic chip encased in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a grain of rice. It is injected under the skin of an animal with a hypodermic needle. The pet microchip is activated by a scanner. When the scanner passes over the area into which the microchip has been implanted, the radio waves put out by the scanner activate the microchip. The microchip transmits a unique identification number to the scanner and the number is displayed on a screen.
What Information Does the Dog Microchip Carry?
Most pet microchips currently in use contain only an identification number. Your pet’s medical record is not contained on the microchip; however, some pet microchip registration databases will allow you to store medical information in the database for a quick reference. So, for example, if your pet has special medical needs, that information can be made immediately available to the rescuing shelter.
It is important to note that pet microchips are not “tracking” devices. They are not GPS-enabled to pinpoint where your dog is located when he is lost.
How Will a Microchip Help Me Get My Lost Dog Back?
When a lost dog is found and turned over to a shelter or a veterinary clinic, the shelter or clinic will scan the dog for a microchip. If a microchip is located, and if the microchip regristry database has the owner’s correct and up-to-date information, the owner can quickly be found and reunited with the lost pet.
It is the pet owner’s responsibility to register the microchip with the chip’s manufacturer. The owner’s information will be maintained in the manufacturer’s database so that the owner can be contacted in case the pet is lost. The owner must also update the manufacturer with any changes in contact information, such as new phone numbers or addresses.
Additionally, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pet owners ask their veterinarian to scan the microchip as part of the pet’s yearly checkup to make sure that the microchip is still in place and working as it should.
Are Pet Microchips Required by Law?
There are no state or federal laws in the United States that require a pet to be microchipped. In fact, at this time, there are no single national standards for pet microchips or microchip scanners. Some other countries, however, do require or will soon require that pets be implanted with the ISO standard 134.2 kHz microchip. If you are planning to relocate or travel to another country with your pet, you will need to do some research to learn about the destination country’s pet microchip requirements.